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Hazon Educational Library: Early Childhood

Weaving Community

by Ashley Davenport
Abundance Farm / Gan Keshet Preschool
Traditionally, weaving has deep roots in the Jewish culture. The craft of weaving is one of the 39 crafts that the Jewish people used to create the Mishkan (tabernacle) in the desert. Weaving, and many of the actions associated with weaving are mentioned specifically in the 39 Melachot, the list of labor forbidden on Shabbat. Although many of the traditional Jewish weaving techniques have been lost to exile, modern day ritual objects are often still made from woven materials, including challah covers, kippot and tallis. Looking back, history shows us that the nomadic Israelites used what fibers they had on hand, such as camel, goat, and sheep, to create their clothing and dwellings. These ancestral methods were simple. Using this simplicity as inspiration, the loom for this project is crafted from sturdy cardboard, the warp is made using cotton string, and the weft consists of long pieces of recycled fabric. Simplicity is often key in introducing new textile art projects to preschool age children. These projects are multifaceted and engaging to young minds, integrating core skill sets such as language and literacy development through oral storytelling, problem solving, pattern recognition, and fine motor development.

Divine Dyeing: How to harness the holiness of color through natural dyeing

by Mira Minyuk
Pearlstone Center
This program is an interactive color exploration through natural dyeing. Participants will learn about the symbolism and holiness associated with certain colors in Judaism, specifically the blue of tekhelet that is found in Tzitzit. They will also learn how to harvest and use different parts of plants to create their own dye and take home a self-dyed bookmark.

Sukkot, the Jewish Earth Day

by Darya Watnick
Edlavitch DC JCC
This program is designed to engage families with young children with the holiday of Sukkot and the festival?s connection to nature and the environment. Through stories, activities and arts & crafts, families will begin to develop a relationship to the rituals and traditions of Sukkot and think about their own connection to the natural world.

Early Childhood Learns about composting!

by Josh Kleymer
Mayerson JCC of Cincinnati
Through a small discussion and watching a Curious George video, the children will learn about how everyone produces trash and ways to keep said trash out of the landfill. The children will learn about composting and how it will benefit their garden. Each child will then get a piece of trash to separate into a trash bin, recycling bin or composting bin. While they are separating trash into the compost bin they will be making their own composter out of a soda bottle to keep for their classroom and watch the compost turn to fertilizer. We will then gather together for a wrap up where they will see some broken down compost and hear what they will keep from their class to put in the composter outside.

Day of Awe-some: A Rosh Hashanah Family Program

by Darya Watnick
Edlavitch DC JCC
This program is an opportunity for families with young children to engage in the Jewish rituals and traditions surrounding the holiday of Rosh Hashanah. They will be able to meet families like themselves while spending the morning creating a meaningful and educational connection with a Jewish holiday.

Our Soulful Flame

by Ilana Unger
Pearlstone Center
This program is an exploration of light through utilizing fine motor skills and creating space to experience the wonder of the natural world. Through hands- on opportunities students will connect with the natural world by opening their eyes to all the ways nature shines its light as well as how we shine our own light. Students will leave with an understanding that we can find light all around us in nature and we as a community will begin to question what that light represents for us individually and collectively.

Todah-Giving: Garlic Gratitude

by Margot Sands
Ekar Farm
This program reclaims our American holiday of Thanksgiving by transforming it into an opportunity to embrace HaKarat HaTov (recognizing the good, or gratitude) during a quiet time on the Jewish calendar. As the farming season winds down, this program invites participants to transition into a reflective season while literally and figuratively planting gratitude for what the growing season has brought us and what is to come in the next year. Through personal reflection, exploration of the Jewish and growing calendars, and garlic planting, participants will build connections to the earth and Jewish values

Seed Stories

by Brenden Jackson
Amir / Shalom Farm Houston
This program uses storytelling as an introduction into the importance of seeds and the connections foods play to different people and cultures. Participants will have the opportunity to connect with a specific seed/plant and learn how plants and the foods created from them, can act as a living conduits for these stories. It is also an opportunity for participants to see the connection between their Judaism and a specific plant/food, or create their own new and important connection. Lastly, using seed stories as a framework within the garden offers the opportunity to create a sense of connection and continuity between multiple groups of campers.

A Sukkot Mitzvah! Welcoming Bug Friends into the Sukkah

by Emily Blustein
Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta
This program is designed to foster a deeper appreciation for sukkot and for bugs. Going deeper than the idea that we build a sukkah because ?that?s what we do for sukkot?. Encouraging the invitation of guests and learning about them and appreciating them is a wonderful mitzvah. By having the participants build a miniature sukkah out of things found in nature and then inviting bugs into the sukkah, the mitzvah is upheld on a small but very important level. Fostering an appreciation for playing with nature, learning about bugs and embracing them as a part of this world is what this program is all about.

Wilderness Torah’s Passover in the Desert Second-Night Seder Youth Skit: The Four Children Collaborative Performance – Art & Storytelling Around the Fire

by Daniella Aboody
Wilderness Torah
As part of Wilderness Torah's Passover in the Desert festival, for the second-night Passover seder, we are doing an off-the-page co-created celebration around the bonfire! The Passover story will come alive through the brilliant and creative minds of each of member of the village, and be experienced through the ancient art of performative storytelling.

Shrinking Our Waste:Solar-Powered Shrinky Dinks

by Margot Sands
Ekar Farm
This program is an interactive introduction to the environmental Jewish value of Bal Tashchit, not destroying or wasting valuable resources. Participants will have the opportunity to explore creative ways we can reduce our carbon footprint by reducing and reusing everyday materials through a solar-oven baked shrinky dink project.

The ECO Passover connection

by Mira Minyuk
Pearlstone Center
This program connects children to the modern day issues of environmental plagues through an in depth look at text describing the plagues in the passover story, while also getting to appreciate the wonder of animals in a healthy eco-system through observation and touch. We will also touch on the subject of Matzah by discussing the significance of eating a bread that does not rise while making our own pita.

The Three Sisters in Kehilla: The Power of Teamwork

by Anika Rice
Urban Adamah
This lesson makes a connection between how both plants and people live in community. On the farm, plants and other organisms are giving and receiving help from one another all of the time. This is reciprocity. Companion planting is the technique of sowing two crops together for a specific purpose, often pest control, space use or yield maximization. Native Americans have been planting the Three Sisters (corn, beans and squash) in one plot for generations. Not only does this trio help each other grow and use nutrients efficiently, but they have higher yields when planted together, and form a nutritious diet. People also need each other: to learn, to pray and to live a spiritual life. When we work in chevruta (learning partners) or are part of a minyan (prayer group), everyone involved can benefit from the group. We are individuals, but our communities are greater than the sum of their parts.

Peah Forward

by Rebecca Remis
Eden Village West
Learn about and enact the value of peah through harvesting a delicious summer treat and decide how much to donate. Share the remaining bounty with the camp community. Experience the joy in working hard and sharing the abundance (through recognition in the dining hall, working with a community organization, and leaving camp for a field trip)

Turn, Turn, Turn: A Jewish Calendar Garden Mosaic

by Anika Rice
Urban Adamah
Any Jewish farm, school, community center or garden can use this document to either create a calendar garden with the community or to lead interactive educational programs that situate the holiday and season in Jewish cycles of time. This document gives an overview of the mosaic design process. It does not give detailed instructions for mosaics; seek this out elsewhere if you are not familiar with outdoor mosaics.